Co-location objections getting 'ridiculous'

Top News | Phoenix Un 31 Jul 2017

The pan-democrats are using extreme and ridiculous reasons to object against the co-location agreement with the mainland, says Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

Lam also said those who fear coming under mainland law in the West Kowloon Terminus can avoid taking the Express Rail Link and instead use other ways to travel northward.

Speaking on a Commercial Radio program yesterday, Lam said Hongkongers should not listen to conspiracy theories or try to demonize the agreement.

"The pan-democrats have taken things to the extreme, making them sound ridiculous. Somebody said it would be believable if the pan- democrats had presented milder reasons [to object to the deal]. It is hard to accept such extreme reasons," Lam said.

Former legal sector legislator Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee had earlier warned Hongkongers not to go near the West Kowloon Terminus to prevent threats to their personal safety.

Without naming Ng, Lam said she had inspected the terminus and assured the public that nobody would be snared into the mainland-administered portion as passengers have to go through several control points.

"Someone warned that you shouldn't get too close to West Kowloon, lest you get seized and prosecuted under mainland laws. Even ordinary citizens wouldn't have said that, not to mention a person so experienced with legal practices," Lam said.

She said it would also be impossible for passengers to walk into the mainland port area unwittingly because they need to buy tickets with their own IDs, then pass through Hong Kong customs.

'If you are so worried, then use other ways to go to the mainland. For instance, by plane, or by car through Lok Ma Chau and Huanggang Port, or in extreme cases, don't enter the mainland at all - which applies to a very small group of people,"' Lam said.

Lam said she hoped to ease people's worries with repeated explanations, but she did not say if public consultations will be held. Public discussions while local legislation is being formulated will show what people think about the plan, Lam said.

And while the National People's Congress Standing Committee will confirm that the proposed co-location deal complies with the Basic Law, it must also be approved by the Legislative Council.

While the pan-democrats have vowed to stop the local legislation, a simple majority in Legco is enough to approve the proposal since it will be a government bill.

This leaves the opposition with few options other than filibustering as the pro-government camp comprises 40 out of the 70 legislators even before by- elections for Legco vacancies take place.

Lam also admitted that the disqualification of four pro-democracy lawmakers had affected her efforts to improve legislative-executive relations. She added she could not do anything not under her authority to resolve.

"It's the Legco's business whether to make these four legislators reimburse their salaries and operating expenses, or whether to amend the Rules of Procedure," Lam said.

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